Member Spotlight: City Utilities Fiber Expansion Project

Feb 6, 2023 12:53:06 PM | Winter 22-23 Member Spotlight: City Utilities Fiber Expansion Project

In February of 2020, City Utilities kicked off their fiber expansion project. Just under 5 million feet of fiber was installed on the project.

City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri (herein “City Utilities”) owns and operates the water, gas, electric, transit, and the SpringNet Fiber Network in and around Springfield. City Utilities has 1,288 miles of gas distribution, 49 miles of gas transmission, 1,269 miles of water distribution, 1,837 miles of electric distribution, 210 miles of electric transmission, along with 1,441 miles of fiber. In addition to these facilities, the City of Springfield owns and operates the sewer and traffic systems.

In February of 2020, City Utilities kicked off its fiber expansion project. Just under 5 million feet of fiber was installed on the project with roughly 3.5 million feet being aerial while the remaining 1.5 million feet was buried underground.

Having recently completed a similar fiber build, the company tasked with managing the project knew the locate volume and damages to existing facilities posed some of the greatest threats to our timeline. If damages to our infrastructure weren’t enough to deal with, City Utilities personnel also had to manage damages to all underground facilities. Understanding the risk at hand, City Utilities Damage Prevention department’s main goal was to minimize the effects the project had on our community, while not delaying scheduled excavation.

To achieve this goal, Damage Prevention personnel actively monitored ticket volume and assisted our contract locator in the high-risk areas. In order to stay ahead of construction, it was important to know how many tickets contractors were calling in, as well as the number of renewals that had to be called in to complete that section of the project. When renewals were called in, a member of the Damage Prevention team would contact the contractor and ask what took place that prohibited them from completing the work that was called in. The Damage Prevention team also monitored the contract locator’s performance throughout the project; both the quality of the locates and the on-time performance. Each damage was investigated, and the responsible party was educated on proper excavation techniques.

The Damage Prevention personnel would go into the field and audit the paint that was placed by the contract locator before the contractors started their excavation on the locates. This allowed the damage prevention team to catch and/or correct around 1,500 locates that needed to be fixed before construction could take place. City Utilities was also willing to pay a premium price per locate to the contract locator so that adequate personnel was allocated to the project.

Success of the project can be measured in many ways, but the fact that no one was injured during the project has to be City Utilities proudest accomplishment. Of the 20,000 plus tickets, only 438 Dig Ups occurred during the project between public and private facilities. City Utilities allocated $1.9 million to cover the cost of damages during the project, and of that allocation, $81,000 was spent. This is the result of when the Utility, locating company, and excavators work together. Communication across all parties led to the overall success of the Fiber Expansion Project.



Missouri 811

Written By: Missouri 811